Tuesday, November 04, 2008

WRITE-IN VOTES IN AMERICAN ELECTIONS—VIGILANCE REQUESTED NOW

WRITE-IN VOTES IN AMERICAN ELECTIONS—VIGILANCE REQUESTED NOW

By Kevin Stoda, an overseas Write-In voter in Kuwait


Some people say that Write-In voting is a scam.

Here is one article on Florida’s write-in voting system from earlier this spring: http://www.sptimes.com/2008/03/09/Opinion/Write_in_scam_shuts_o.shtml

The author of this Florida article claims, “Write-in candidates pay no qualifying fee, file no petitions and their names don't appear on the ballot. But they can, by their mere presence, close a primary that would otherwise be open. The scam is now so commonplace that a 2006 Senate analysis of 30 legislative races between a primary winner and a write-in pegged the average margin of victory at 99.8 percent. In six races, the write-in candidates got no votes, including their own.”

Other people, like some of Ron Paul’s supporters just one year ago, saw Write-In Voting as his only hope. http://keelynet.wordpress.com/2007/12/13/ron-paul-can-only-win-with-a-write-in-vote/

At that time in late 2007, one blogger wrote, “I can see No Way In Hell Ron Paul will get nominated by the Republican Party . . . . , the only way it will happen is to write him in as president on the ballot.”

Other Americans, especially unpaid or underpaid election officials and volunteers, complain that Write-In votes just take too long. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20081102/NEWS03/811020339

For example, it has been written recently in the press in Clarksville, Tennessee that on November 4, 2008 Write-Ins will cause undue stress: “By the time most folks go to bed on election night, the winner of the 22nd District state Senate race might not be determined. Then again, when people wake up for work the next day, results might still be unknown.”


WRITE-INs in AMERICA


In 1920, in Eugene V. Debs famous candidacy from prison (for opposing WWI), this Socialist received a record one-million write-in votes.

In the 1964 primary in many New England States, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. trounced Barry Goldwater through write-in votes for the post of the Republican nominee for U.S. president that year.
As well, the perennial-candidate Ralph Nader first ran in New Hampshire for President of the US as a write-in candidate in 1992.

As far as the U.S. Congress goes, several candidates have done quite well as write-ins in those states which permit it. Strom Thurmond ran and won as a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate in 1954. Others have won seats in the House.

As recently as this 2008, Peter Welch became the Republican (as well as Democratic candidate) for Congress through write-in votes in the Republican primary. The Republican Party ran no candidate this year. (He is supported thus by both the Republican and Democratic party this November 4.)

http://beltwayblips.com/story/write_ins_give_welch_republican_nomination/
Democrats and Republicans have falsely claimed that “Write-in candidates are a holdover from the time when ballot papers were blank, and had no names printed on them at all. Gradually, the ballots were arranged to have all the names of the candidates printed on them, with a ‘write-in’ provision for latecomers.”
On the other hand, one also needs to recognize, “Many states and municipalities allow for write-in votes in a partisan primary where no candidate is listed on the ballot to have the same functional effect as nominating petitions: for example, if there are no Reform Party members on the ballot for state general assembly and a candidate receives more than 200 write-in votes when the primary election is held (or the other number of signatures that were required for ballot access), the candidate will be placed on the ballot on that ballot line for the general election. In most places, this provision is in place for non-partisan elections as well.”
Alas, most of my adult life the state of Kansas, dominated by the Republican Party for decades, has not allowed many write in votes at all at the state level. (Local towns allow it.)

This is why I encourage voters (wherever Write-In votes are legal) to consider this very option.
Here is one on-line explanation of how to do so from Pennsylvania. http://www.nota-pa.org/writein.html
According to Michael Moore’s THE AWFUL TRUTH, he himself led a campaign for Write-In votes in 2000. Some people noticed the campaign, but these voters were relatively few in number.

This is true of the majority of write-in campaign due to the current U.S. political climate with Democratic Party and Republican Party dominating statehouses for over a century unchallenged by any third or alternative party.

PROJECT VOTE SMART is interested in supporting all voters, even those planning to make out write-in votes. Here is a list of presidential candidates already registered for voters to consider.

http://www.votesmart.org/election_president_search.php?type=alpha

THOUGHTS AND WARNINGS

Many of the millions of Americans voting from overseas, including U.S. military personnel, often have to physically write in our votes and mail them in before election day each year.

Why is this?

Well, the major reason is that most states, counties and cities in the USA are slow in responding to requests for overseas ballots. Therefore, come October, we quite often need to write in our votes for U.S. Senate, Congress and President/Vice President by hand in a ballot form--provided online or available from our local U.S. Embassy.

http://kuwait.usembassy.gov/voting_information.html

In short, over the past few decades, I (and American ex-pats around the planet) have regularly had to do a Write-In vote for these national offices.

Prior to 2000, the horrible nasty national secret that most overseas ballots were not counted became public knowledge. In short, until after that election many write-in ballots from ex-pats around the world were never counted.

In closing this article, I need to refrain that Write-In balloting is hard to monitor from overseas, however, those of you in the U.S. have a lot of opportunity to be more vigilant.

Go, please, to your polling places and see that the WRITE-IN and overseas votes--and other important early ballots--are counted and not thrown out!
http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/07/campaign-dynamics-fraud-potential-impacted-early-voting/

We overseas voters, thank you for your help.

http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2008/10/30/amy_goodmans_new_column_election_protection




NOTES

The Awful Truth, http://www.theawfultruth.com/

Campaign Dynamics, Fraud Potential Impacted by Early Voting, http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/07/campaign-dynamics-fraud-potential-impacted-early-voting/

Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=L000394

NOTA: Just Say NOTA on Election Day! http://www.nota-pa.org/writein.html

Ron Paul Can Only Win with a Write-In Vote, http://keelynet.wordpress.com/2007/12/13/ron-paul-can-only-win-with-a-write-in-vote/

Peter Welch, Republican Write-In, http://beltwayblips.com/story/write_ins_give_welch_republican_nomination/

PROJECT VOTE SMART: The Voter’s Self-Defense System,
http://www.votesmart.org/election_president_search.php?type=alpha

Strom Thurmond: Write-In, http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-782860.html

Write-In Candidates, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Write-in

Write-In Vote Scam Shuts Voters Out, http://www.sptimes.com/2008/03/09/Opinion/Write_in_scam_shuts_o.shtml

Write-In Votes will Take Time, http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20081102/NEWS03/811020339

Write-Ins give Peter Welch Republican Nomination, http://beltwayblips.com/story/write_ins_give_welch_republican_nomination/

Women’s Rights—Debs and Women’s Rights, http://www.eugenevdebs.com/pages/women.htm

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